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hey there! I'm monica 

I pride myself on making amazing style and design accessible for everyone, regardless of location, budget, or ability! My design philosophy is rooted in authenticity + attainability - If I can do it, you can too! My work has been featured in countless publications, but I take the most pride in homeowners that have been personally inspired by my DIY ideas and have tried something in their own homes!

learn more about ME + MY BIZ

Wow, can it really be the end of 2013? It has been one crazy, busy, unbelievable year for us and we wouldn’t change a thing about it! This was a big year for us, from hosting the first annual Creating with the Stars, which we transformed from Crafting with the Stars from Tam at Sew Dang Cute, to hosting our very own TV show “Knock it Off” on the Live Well Network.  Oh, and we can’t forget that Jess brought little Bennett into the world smack dab in the middle of our Holiday Episode!  Today we’re taking a little look back at our year and reflecting on all that 2013 had to offer!


January: Let’s start off with a few of the first projects that kicked off 2013 like Jess’ Faux Sofa Table. This was one of the easiest DIY projects ever- can you say “3 brackets and a piece of wood”?

  how to build a faux sofa table

before and after

Can you believe what this little trick did for her living room?

A space that made a difference at the start of 2013 for the Mangin household was giving Kira’s bedroom a fun, colorful makeover

Kid's Room Makeover

Not only did we create a pretty cool mosaic design for her bedroom, but we also used our favorite engineer prints from Staples as cheap artwork!

February’s Favorite Project: Powder Room Pick Me Up


February didn’t have many DIY projects or makeovers from us because we were busy preparing for Creating with the Stars and starting a TV show, but one that it did have that I really love is my powder room pick me up!  That dang bathroom was hideous beforehand!!

March: The month Creating with the Stars kicked off!

creating_with_the_stars_plain (1)

2013 was the year we began hosting Creating with the Stars and in March rounds 1, 2, and 3 took place with so many incredible projects and blogger stars. We can’t wait till 2014 for our 2nd annual Stars contest! This year is going to be epic, friends!

We also put together a few of our own little projects in March before CWTS officially started…


I showed off my Instagram anti-wreath project while Jess gave a great tutorial of how to turn a simple IKEA side table into an ottoman!

April brought us a green piano (which apparently is quite controversial- lol), wood shim art, and a surprise bun in the oven!

Painted Piano Before and After

Who knew painting my piano green and a DIY wood shim wall art would get us into HGTV magazine! The original project was featured in April on ECC but it wasn’t until May that I actually showed you the tutorial on how to do the wood shim art on your own!


This gorgeous photo of Jess is by photographer Stacy Salvatori  (who’s actually joining the EC2 team- more info to come on that!) and was taken during the Jackson family gender reveal photo shoot in May. But, it was in April that Jess first mentioned to you about her surprise  bun in the oven! Besides posting about her awesome little man, Jess also had a few awesome DIY projects she she tackled in her home…


A little rope and some clearance IKEA frames was all she needed for her Hanging Frames tutorial! There is so much more to see too in Jess’ bathroom makeover (where the hanging frame is located).   Jess’ Faux Industrial Metal Letters, are one of the coolest projects in my opinion- I love how they look like metal!!

May: Knock it Off was Announced! Holy Freakin’ Moley- We Have a TV Show!

Knock it off announcement

We announced the big news of our very own DIY TV show Knock it Off in May and now we’re already mid-way through taping season 2, we’re so incredibly blessed and really appreciate all of your support. We also should mention that working with your best friend is amazing. We’re both so happy to get to work together- today we had lunch and went shopping and it was all “work”!  SCORE!

Other than our big news we also had a few fun DIY projects we put together…


Vertical Garden, Gender Reveal Box, Custom Mugs, DIY-FO SHO


I quit my job- I still think I’m kind of in shock that I left education and now host a TV show.  Seriously, What the What??


Even with KIO projects going on, we still had the itch to work on projects at our own homes (trust me that itch is long gone now- lol!)  I love how these DIY Tiered Planters turned out.

Tiered Planter

July:  “Knock It Off” finally premiered! We hosted a big old shindig and had the best time! It also so cool to invite so many of the homeowners that we’d gotten to work with on the show!

Knock It Off Premiere Party Event-0004

Knock It Off Premiere

The premiere also meant that we were able to begin sharing tutorials for projects seen on the show.  You can check them all out on our DIY PROJECTS page.

Screen Shot 2013-12-30 at 8.35.49 PM

The premiere was big, but the thing that stole the show for me in July was the birth of 9 Bernese Mountain Dog Puppies!  We started Bucks County Bernese and found amazing families for each pup. Raising them was an incredible experience for me and my kids.

Screen Shot 2013-12-30 at 9.14.09 PM

Screen Shot 2013-12-30 at 9.10.13 PM

August: We LOVE doing live events- ever since our 1st Nate Show episode we realized that we love live speaking engagements! It’s really kinda weird, we just get jazzed up instead of nervous and we don’t prepare all that much (Shh! Don’t tell the people that ask us to speak!).  We were the speaking guests at a Ladies’ Night Out for Calvary Church and it was so fun!



We did this makeover in about 30 minutes with 400 women watching- Pressure Much?  🙂


September:  Bennett Spier Jackson was born and guess who got to be in the delivery room?  ME!  (Well and Jess and Kevin, duh!) It was so cool to be a part of his birth!

Screen Shot 2013-12-30 at 9.02.07 PM

The adorable little man had his first photo shoot with Salvatori Photography and man, was he a ham for the camera!

jackson_0123 (1)

October: We headed into the Fall season with some big room makeovers planned for our own homes, starting with Bennett’s mint, orange and gray nursery reveal (only a few weeks AFTER he was born. Oops!)

We both fall-ified our homes: I (Jess) tackled my mantel with a huge engineer print….

…and Monica dressed up her front porch using a whole bunch of colorful pallets in a really unique way!

We also participated in Knoctoberfest hosted by Lindsay from Makely with a really inexpensive Pottery Barn knockoff console table. You know we love a good knock off, so this fun blog hop full of unbelievably talented bloggers was right up our alley.

November:  Monica killed it with a mid-century modern update to the fireplace in her kid’s playroom. This room is so full of her personality and is totally cool. And don’t worry: the full reveal is coming soon!

DIY Modern Fireplace

Monica also shared how she “broke the news” to her daughter about jolly ol’ St.Nick, which was a really popular post with you guys!

Talking about Santa

December: It was down-right Christmasy around here. From a fabric Christmas tree, to Santa Beard canvas art to mercury glass ornaments, no surface was left undecorated!

Modern-Christmas-Tree1-620x930 mercury-glass-ornament-620x620


Plus, Monica shared her Christmas home tour that had so much holiday goodness in every picture!


Phew! So that’s our year in a nutshell! It was full of surprises, craziness and new adventures. We’d say it would be hard to top this year, but then again…we say that every year! We can’t wait to see what 2014 has in store for us. One thing is for sure, though, we’re so glad you’ve stuck around this blog to support us and cheer us on.  Thanks for that!

Here’s to another 12 awesome months- Happy New Year!

Check back tomorrow for some awesome FREE 2014 printables to start you off right! 

The comments +

  1. Elise says:

    Hi Jess and Monica,
    I just wanted to give you a heads up that there’s a really inappropriate ad playing for League of Angels on your side-bar!

  2. Ann says:

    I have learned a lot from watching your show on our local station. I did not know this was your first year. We moved in September and I wanted to replace the furniture in our daughter’s room but did not have the money. So, after watching your show a couple times, I decided to paint her furniture and let her pick the color ( boy was that brave). We went from a dull, scratched blue to a red. It was unbelievable what that did to her room. I am sorry, I didn’t mean to write a whole letter but this is something I would not have attempted before watching your show. Best wishes for 2014. I can’t wait to see what shows you have this year.

    • Monica says:

      Hi Ann,

      We’re so happy to hear that our show inspired you and how wonderful her furniture came out! We love hearing from our viewers, we appreciate the support. Come back again and share more! Happy New Year to you and your family.

  3. Cindy says:

    In the living room knock off episode of michelle and graham, you had zebra pattern in back of bookshelves but you didn’t elaborate how you did this. I would love to do this on my bookshelf-is it wallpaper or how was it done. I love your show–you are so creative and yet you do down to earth beautiful work. Thanks so much!! Hope you continue for a long time to come. I wish I had seen your show before I redid my living room. Great ideas!!

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